There are hundreds of singer/songwriters in the world that write beautiful lyrics. Thousands of bands have
amazing musicians in them that sound great together and rock the stage each night. Millions of songs talk about loving, leaving,
drinking, and life. There are lead singers and front men that are cool as hell and can captivate an audience …BUT…
there is only one band out there today that is a perfect combination of everything above. The Eric Church Band.
tell people all the time that seeing Eric Church play live for the first time will change their lives. I haven’t had
anyone call me a liar yet. It’s hard not to be drawn to a band that has songs that may as well been written about your
own life. Eric’s lyrics are so honest and relatable that people feel an instant connection to his songs. Who hasn’t
been left, found, loved, drunk, or to prison (in one form or another)? Trucks, bucks, and women…family, lovers, and
money...the topics are common but the songs have been composed in a such a way that listening to them a thousand times over
still doesn’t seem to be enough.
I once watched a 19 year old kid weep at a show when Eric played his favorite
song. I look over and actual tears were falling down this guys face. I think it was a mixture of alcohol, a hot crowded honky-tonk,
and his buddy squeezing him so tightly while singing along to “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag”, but they were real
tears all the same. I asked the guy about it after the show and he told me simply, “Sinners hasn’t left the cd
player in my truck since the day I got it. I have never heard anything like it…it’s my life man. That’s
I mean what else is there to say? Some people just “get” good music.
I have been
to see hundreds of concerts in my life. Every genre of music from heavy metal to the blues but I have never enjoyed myself
more than the times I spend screaming my head off in front of the Eric Church Band. What exactly is it about them? The sounds?
The lyrics? The personalities up on stage? Yeah… somewhere along the way that all contributes to the love fans have
for them but I think really it can be summed up by saying: “They live the music… and through them we(the fans)
get to live it too.”
I love to scan the crowd and watch people when then go see Eric play. Eyes wide, gazing
in amazement at the guitars waling and the drums thumping to the opening chords and beats of each song. I think about what
they are hearing. A collective symphony of country- rock’n’roll perfection. I once heard someone label it “ya’llternative”
country or “country-core”. It’s the perfect mix of twang and metal. It’s hard to take your eyes off
Eric when he peeks out from under a bent-brim fedora or a greasy ass ball cap. You can barely see where he’s looking
underneath dark aviators in a smoke filled room. Completely absorbed by the music he is playing and ready to blow the fucking
top off of a redneck bar in the middle of nowhereville. Each time it’s the same and each time it’s different.
He feeds off the crowd, the crowd feeds off the band and it gets loud and rowdy. It’s rare to see shows where every
person in the room is captivated and soaking up what the band is throwing at them but it happens night after night on the
road with the ECB.
I remember my first Eric Church show….October 16, 2006 Raleigh, NC…
right of the stage, trucker hat cocked to the side, arms crossed in anticipation of the man whose lyrics had filled my truck
speakers for 3 months prior to the show. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but my heart raced in excitement as the
lights dimmed. The band walked out minus Eric and busted into “Before She Does” …then a spotlight hit a
tall dark headed figure emerging from a hazy background. With his fist held high in the air, Eric made his way to the mic
stand. The arena roared and he sang, “I believe that gas…is too damn high…ain’t nothing more American
than mamma’s apple pie…”. “Holy Shit.” , I said to myself. He delivered every word with passion
and he made the crowd believe him even if they had never seen him before. If there was one person in that room not blown away
by that opening song then they were dead because it only took one to get the audience on their feet for the rest of the evening.
There was a 13 song set that night including “The Weight” and “The Shape I’m In”…two cover
songs by The Band. My love for Eric Church music all goes back to that night in ‘06 after hearing the ECB play “The
Weight.” I have heard that song covered by a lot of bands but at that particular show it just did something to my ears,
heart, soul?? It did something. I can’t pinpoint it. The funky beats? The old school guitar licks? His voice? The way
the band came together during each solo? It was just simply an amazing rendition and one that I will never forget. I met Eric
for the first time later that night after the show. Under a canopy of carnival lights, the aroma of candy apples mixed with
popcorn and the noise of clanging carnival rides I said hello to one of the greatest songwriter’s country music has
seen in a very long time. I had a long drive home that night down hwy 64 to Montgomery County, my head still spinning with
the sights and sounds that I had experienced inside Dorton Arena. I remember looking off into the darkness and thinking about
my own life while “Sinners Like Me” played in the background.
That’s what real music should do to
you. That is the way you should feel after a great show.
The Eric Church band has a group of followers deemed long
ago, ”The Church Choir” . These are diehard fans that would travel to the end of the earth to hear the band they
have come to love in the past few years. It’s nice never having to worry about being alone at a show because each time…there
they are… your “Church” choir family along for the ride. Just like any family we love and we fight. Sometimes
there are disagreements or hurt feelings but at the end of the night there is one thing that we all still have in common…
one constant never changing factor…a love for Eric Church music. If you are “choir” then you know the lyrics
and the lingo…
The “Church Stomp” is the pounding of Eric’s boots against the wooden stage
keeping rhythm to the songs along with thousands of clapping hands in the crowd. A sea of fingers, lighters, and pumping fists
that point toward the boys on stage is a requirement at shows. Wow…what a sight that must be. A thousand fans chanting
your name in perfect unison. If you are “Choir” you know that no time is too early to arrive at a venue for a
front row view of the band you adore. There is always going to be a crowd there to meet you with a cold beer in hand and plenty
of car paint. Crazy? Yes…we are…..but you have to stand for something right?! We stand for the ECB.
have been 20 shows since my first Eric Church experience and each one has been special. Whether you have gained a friend,
a black eye, a hangover or a speeding ticket on an ECB road trip…you, the fan… have gained a little part of that
life on the road and you have lived the music.
After reading my ECB story I hope it may be a little more clear…..
why we: travel so far, spend so much, camp out so long, sing so loud, get so rowdy, drink so much, sleep so little, and love
Eric Church music like it’s our own. “We know where we come from…How Bout you?”